What Hotel Amenities Do People Really Care About?

Luxury hotel offerings run the gamut, from 5-star restaurants and pet concierges to granting absurd guest bacon-based requests — but how many of these services do travelers really want? According to Skift, a new study by MMGY and Harrison Group shows that limited-service hotels are growing in popularity. American travelers are choosing these more budget-conscious options, which generally do away with in-house bars and restaurants, bed turn-down service, spas, airport shuttles and other amenities.This doesn’t mean pillow mints will become extinct overnight. According to Skift:

While those travelers preferring limited-service hotels are still in the minority, their ranks grew 55% from 2012 to 2013, according to the survey, and was the fastest-growing trend among the categories about hotel preferences [in the table here].

But it does indicate a growing trend away from travelers relying on the hotel to cater to their every need on the road. Many hotels are doing away with in-room telephones and pay-per-view television options, while free Wi-Fi is on the rise, especially at budget hotel brands.

Would you book a hotel that doesn’t have a bar or restaurant if it meant saving a few bucks? What hotel amenities can you live without?

London hotel offers champagne baths

While drinking a 2002 Dom Pérignon, have you ever thought to yourself, “Damn, this stuff is so good, I should take a bath in it!” Well, you’re not the only one with such luxurious fantasies. Starting Valentine’s Day and running through the next year, the Cadogan Hotel in London will be offering a menu of champagne baths to guests who want to try out the ultimate bubbly bath.

What’s your flavor? On the menu are a 1998 Louis de Custine Brut bath for £4,000 (ca. $6,300); a soak in Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut 2002 for £6,000; Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé 2004 or the Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label 2006 baths, each for £8,000; or, the most outrageous of them all, the Dom Pérignon champagne bath, which goes for £25,000. It takes about 122 bottles to fill the bathtub with the chosen libation. One of the Cadogan’s bath butlers assists in drawing the bath and heating it to guests’ desired temperature. Once guests are submerged in the tub, the butler attends with flutes of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.

If money was no object, would this be something you would like to try? Or would you rather see the champagne put to better use? Tell us in the comments below.

Go ice skating at your hotel in Miami

What’s better than ice skating during the holidays? How about ice skating with the knowledge that the sunny beaches of Miami are waiting for you when you’re finished?

Travelers escaping the cold for the balmy climes of South Florida can enjoy a little taste of winter with the Intercontinental Miami’s Holiday Ice Rink. Through January 15, 2012, the full-size rink will be open at Intercontinental’s Bayview Patio, which has views of Biscayne Bay.

While you don’t have to stay at the Intercontinental to enjoy the rink – the ice is open from 10am-10pm daily; admission is $20/hour adults and $10/hour kids, inclusive of ice skate rental and discounted parking – you can pretend that you’re in St. Moritz by taking advantage of some of the hotel’s cool après-skate activities, like spa massages or a dip in the heated outdoor pool. Building on the ritzy Swiss resort theme, the grand lobby of the Intercontinental will feature through January 1, 2012, the photography exhibition “Andy Warhol: ‘The Model Boy’,” the inaugural installation of the Intercontinental Miami Arts Program displayed in conjunction with Art Basel Miami Beach.

For families considering a stay in Miami over the holidays, the Intercontinental is offering the Holiday Ice Rink Package, which includes ice rink passes for a family of four and tickets to the Miami Children’s Museum, starting from $269 per night.

By the way, if you’re planning on New Year’s Eve in Miami, none other than Ludacris performs right in front of the Intercontinental as part of Downtown Miami’s New Year’s Eve Celebrations. Hotel rink by day, rap concert by night? Sounds to me like a well-balanced way to ring in 2012.

Photo Flickr/daveynin

Ten creative things to do with hotel bathroom amenities

When your travels regularly take you to hotels, you’ll no doubt have a collection of small amenities. I’m pretty weird, because I’ll take whatever I can get. Of course, with the TSA liquid rules, the amount you can take back home is limited, but if you are traveling by car, or checking bags, there is almost limit to what you can collect.

Here are ten fun things you can do with hotel toiletries – from helping others, to being super cheap…

Donate them
This is my favorite thing to do with hotel toiletries.Check out the Yellow Pages or Google, and find local shelters. From experience, I know that Womens shelters always appreciate good quality amenities. In some cases they’ll ask for them to be dropped off at a public location, but they’ll always go to a good home.

Gifts bags/ Souvenirs

Got someone you’d like to treat to a little something nice? Buy a gift basket or bag at the local craft store and create a fragrant gift set. With the right brands, they’ll think you spent a fortune on them.
Stocking stuffers
Christmas is still 5 months away, but it doesn’t hurt to put some products aside as stocking stuffers. Good brands are perfect gifts for teachers or anyone else that deserves a little holiday cheer.

Sell them
If you snag some really good amenities, or something exotic, check Ebay or Craigslist for prices and list your own stuff for sale. Some hotels provide really upscale brands which can easily sell for $10 each. You’d be amazed how much you can get for a weeks supply of L’occitane products from the Four Seasons.

Use on other trips

At home, I’ve always got a couple of spare TSA approved 3-1-1 baggies filled with basic amenities. This way, if I have a last minute trip, i just grab a baggie and head to the airport. Since all the bottles are already within the TSA approved size, you won’t need to worry about being shot for violating the liquid rules.

Use in guest bathroom at home
Don’t waste money on toiletries for guests, simply give them a couple of good hotel products.

Use in your own bathroom (cheap!)
What’s good enough for your guests should be good enough for you. Pick the best brands, and use them yourself.

Refill larger bottles
This takes being cheap to a whole new level, but you can empty hotel toiletries back home and refill your own larger bottles.

Drawer liners
Peel a corner off the hotel soap bar and use it as a drawer liner. Just be sure to pick good scents, or all your stuff will smell like industrial strength hotel soap.

Corporate bathroom or desk (Toothpaste, mending kit)

Stock up on mending kits, toothpaste and other toiletries at the office, and you’ll be the hero of your cubicle. The Pepcid was indeed an amenity – on a cruise ship of course.

Got any of your own ideas? Leave them in the comments section below!